Category Archives: Fluids
Today in the Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers auto care blog, we’re going to talk to Tupelo auto owners about oil change intervals. It seems that as engine technology advances, recommended oil change intervals have gotten longer for Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers customers. High quality oil in a well-engineered pickup engine has lead to extended intervals. But it’s also lead to some confusion among Tupelo motorists.
The old mantra “change your oil every three months or three thousand miles, whichever comes first” once applied to every vehicle on Tupelo highways. Time and miles take their toll on motor oil. But now, you could have a different oil change recommendation for every car or truck you own.
Tupelo drivers are like everybody else, they have a tendency to follow the oil change schedule of the vehicle with the longest interval. Of course, that can lead to problems. For example, recently four of the world’s largest car makers shortened the published intervals for several of their engine models. They originally published intervals that extended out to a much as 8,000 miles.
In real world Tupelo driving, the oil started to sludge up before the recommended change interval. Oil sludge is a thick jelly-like substance. Quite literally petroleum jelly – like Vaseline. This goop was clogging pickup small engine passages so the oil wouldn’t flow to some parts of the engine. This resulted in engine damage. We see it too often at Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers in Tupelo.
The manufacturers began to offer an extended warranty to cover sludge damage. But there was a catch: the vehicle owner had to follow a new, lower service interval, and provide proof of oil changes in order to make a warranty claim.
So here’s the bottom line for Tupelo auto owners: with longer oil change intervals, it’s essential to follow them closely. Back in the day of 3 months or 3,000 miles, if you went an extra month or an extra thousand miles, your oil was still fresh enough that it didn’t have time to build up much sludge.
But if your recommended interval is 6,500 miles and you go over another thousand, you’re getting into heavy sludge territory. You absolutely need to follow mileage intervals very closely. And don’t forget your severe service schedule. If you do a lot of stop and go driving in MS, short trips, drive in dusty or polluted Tupelo conditions, hot or cold weather, or haul heavy loads, you’re driving in severe service conditions. Your Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers advisor can help you determine which schedule to follow.
So check your pickup owner’s manual or talk with your Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers service advisor about where and how you drive in Tupelo. Should you change your oil closer to the regular schedule, or the severe service schedule? You need to make the call.
Let me give you an example of this. Some newer pickups have an oil change indicator. It has a sophisticated computer algorithm that tracks number of cold starts, engine temperature, RPMs, mileage, and many more variables to come up with a recommendation for when to change the oil.
Depending on driving conditions, the indicator in one test vehicle came on at anywhere from 2,500 miles to almost 7,000 miles. It’s typically just over 4,000 miles. Clearer sometimes, we’re driving easy miles that are easy on the pickup – like a long road trip. Sometimes, we’re driving hard MS miles – like towing a heavy trailer or a lot of around town driving. But, usually, it’s a combination of both.
Once again, it’s up to you to make the call as to when to change your oil at Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers to protect your pickup engine. Another place where MS auto owners can go wrong is with the type of oil they use. More and more new cars are coming to Tupelo owners filled with synthetic oil. Without going into a lot of detail right now, let’s just say that synthetic oil lasts longer and is very resistant to oil sludge.
But it also costs quite a bit more, so some Tupelo people are tempted to use conventional oil for their oil changes. Now, it’s always best to use the oil recommended by your car maker. Check your owner’s manual see if a conventional oil alternative is allowed.
But getting back to the problem, if your pickup came from the factory with synthetic oil, the recommended oil change interval is for synthetic oil. If you use conventional oil, you can’t use the synthetic interval. You need to shorten it.
When you get an oil change, it’s always a safe bet to just use the type of oil the auto maker recommends. But sometimes we’re asked if we’d like conventional or synthetic motor oil. We glance at the price tags on the two options and choose the cheaper one. But in this case, the more expensive oil might be the better bargain for Tupelo motorists.
Conventional oil is made from petroleum. Its molecules form long hydrocarbon chains. Synthetic motor oil is either more highly refined petroleum or completely man-made. Its molecules are more uniform. This provides essential advantages over conventional motor oil.
First of all, the molecular structure of synthetic motor oil makes it more slippery than conventional oil so it lubricates better. This translates to better wear protection for Tupelo motorists, cooler operating temperatures, more engine power and increased fuel efficiency.
Further, synthetic oil is more heat-resistant than conventional oil, and it doesn’t vaporize as easily. It provides better protection for severe conditions like stop-and-go driving around Tupelo and very hot or freezing MS temperatures.
Also, synthetic oil doesn’t generate harmful oil sludge like conventional oil. This prevents small engine passageways from becoming clogged, which can significantly extend the working life of your pickup engine.
Manufacturers are aware of the advantages of synthetic oil, and many of them are using it to fill their pickups before delivering them to be sold. Many auto maker’s owner’s manuals now come with the recommendation to use only synthetic oil. Because synthetic oil wears better and protects better than conventional motor oil, it can be changed less often. If your pickup came with a recommendation for synthetic oil, you may have noticed that the recommended period between oil changes is longer than what you’re used to. However, if you switch to conventional oil, you need to be aware that you can’t follow this longer service interval. You’ll have to change your oil more often.
On the other hand, if you are using conventional oil and you switch to synthetic oil, you may be able to lengthen the time between oil changes. You can speak with your knowledgeable Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers technician. He can offer you good auto advice about oils and service intervals based on your driving habits and requirements.
Oil changes are the hallmark of important preventive maintenance at Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers. All Tupelo auto owners need them. So we should get excited about a product that reduces how often we need them. Synthetic oil is more costly, yes, but it can pay for itself by lasting longer than conventional oil. And when you add in the hidden savings of an extended engine life and improved gas mileage, not to mention increased engine power, there’s a good chance that synthetic oil actually saves in the long run. All Tupelo drivers pay for car care. But understanding what we’re paying for can make us more savvy shoppers.
Today Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers is talking about the proper fluids for your vehicle. It’s become more complicated with changes in automotive design and manufacturing. It’s not that people in MS are confused as much as they don’t realize how much things have changed in recent years.
If you have questions about the fluids in your vehicle, please don’t hesitate to stop by Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers. You can find us on Find yout local NAPA AutoCare of Tupelo in Tupelo, MS 38801.
Just give us a call at 662.842.0036
Let’s take engine oil. Twenty or thirty years ago, there were just a handful of different weights of oil. The weight of an oil is a scientific measure of its properties, particularly its viscosity or thickness.
It was common in those days to use a lighter weight oil in the winter when it’s cold outside. That way the oil would be able to splash around inside the engine and protect the parts before it was fully warmed up. And a heavier weight oil would be used in the summer. The thicker oil wouldn’t thin out too much in the summer heat and vaporize in the engine.
Modern valve trains have become very complicated with more moving parts and small passages than ever before. The valve train is in the top of the engine, so when the car has been turned off for a while, the oil tends to run down to lower areas and the valve train parts are vulnerable at start-up, before the oil starts circulating.
So new weights of oil have been introduced to meet the engineering specifications of these newer engines.
Manufacturers are recommending specific weights of oil. The recommendation is often printed on the oil fill cap. It’s certainly in the owner’s manual. Of course, your Tupelo MS auto service center can look it up for you.
It’s more important than ever to have the correct weight of oil. The wrong weight could actually harm the engine.
Other fluids are also becoming more sophisticated. In the last few years new types of transmission, power brake fluid and coolant have all been introduced for some of the same reasons as for engine oil.
In addition, vehicle manufacturers are now using a wider variety of materials in these systems. Looking at the cooling system as an example, it used to be that the parts were all made out of steel or iron and the hoses were rubber. Now, some parts are plastic, aluminum or other materials.
So the anti-corrosion additives contained in the coolant, or anti-freeze, need to be different in order to protect the different materials used to make the cooling system. If you use the wrong coolant that wasn’t formulated to protect your plastic cooling system parts, they could become corroded and fail. And if you’re using the wrong coolant, your cooling system won’t be covered under warrantee. So it’s important to use the right coolant and to not mix different types.
Your owner’s manual or your Tupelo MS service advisor at Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers can make sure you’re using the right type. You may have heard of universal coolant. Universal, or global, coolant can be added to other types without harmful reactions. That’s OK for an emergency top off, but following your manufacturer’s recommendation for your pickup or other auto type is always a safe bet.
In the area of brake fluid, there are a couple of new formulations. It’s important to remember that the new ones aren’t better than the old ones. They’re just different formulations for different vehicles. So if your vehicle calls for DOT 3, using DOT 4 or DOT 5 is not an upgrade. Use the recommended formula.
There are fluid formulations for vehicles with higher mileage. These are special engine oil, transmission fluid, and so on that contain additives to condition and restore seals and gaskets in older engines.
They’re fine to use as long as they’re a variant of the proper fluid. In other words you can use a high mileage engine oil as long as it’s also the correct weight recommended by the manufacturer. Same goes for transmission fluid; as long as it’s the right type for your transmission.
Today’s Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers post focuses on using the proper fluids for your vehicle. Significant advancements in automotive technology have lead to the development of high-tech fluids to keep modern cars operating at peak performance. This is due to both engineering advances and new high-tech materials used to build pickup automotive systems.
A simple example of this is the cooling system. For decades it was primarily made out of iron, steel and rubber hoses. There was one kind of coolant that protected these components from corrosion.
Now cooling system components are made with various metal alloys and plastics. These materials require different additives to protect them from corrosion. Since the materials used vary among pickup auto manufacturers, we now have a number of different kinds of coolant.
It’s essential for Belden car owners to use the right coolant. If you pour in the wrong kind, it won’t protect the cooling system and may even void the warranty. Check your pickup owner’s manual. Of course, your Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers automotive advisor will know the proper coolant for your vehicle.
Brake fluid is confusing for some Belden drivers. Back when we opened Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers 13 years ago, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid. Now we have Dot 4 and Dot 5. Some Tupelo people mistakenly think the higher numbers are an upgrade. You know, if 3 is good then 4 must be better. That’s not how it works. They are different formulations to meet the demands of differences in brake systems. Only one of them is designed for your pickup.
Ditto for transmission fluid. For decades there were two basic types of tranny fluid used at Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers: friction modified or not. With the tremendous engineering advances in pickup automatic transmissions, there have been several new types of fluids developed to protect and lubricate them.
Nowhere are the advances in automotive fluids more evident to Belden car owners and Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers professionals than in motor oil. Many new weights and formulations have been created to meet the demands of today’s high-tech pickup engine design. Modern engines have more parts and much tighter tolerances. Every year, engines make more power and (thankfully!) get better gas mileage. And along with all the complexity and sophistication, they still have to be durable.
That’s where the new grades of engine oil come in. They have to be formulated to lubricate, protect and clean all of those pickup engine parts, big and little. The oil has to be thin enough to get into little passages, yet resistant to vaporization.
At Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers in Tupelo, we believe that in some ways modern automotive fluids are just as impressive as the new engines. Because weights of oil and types of coolant and transmission fluid are so carefully matched to the vehicle, make sure you always use the proper fluid if you are topping off at home.
Check your pickup owner’s manual or ask your Belden service technician. The wrong fluid can cause damage to your pickup engine. If you drive a car or truck around MS with 75,000 miles or more, consider high mileage formulations. These fluids contain extra detergent to clean dirtier older engines as well as additives to condition seals and gaskets. That’ll help prevent leaks. Always be sure that the high mileage fluid is the same weight or type of fluid recommended for your pickup.
We would like to give you an update on some of the things happening in automotive fluids. You know, cars are becoming more sophisticated everyday – and fluids such as, oil, coolant and transmission fluid are becoming more specialized at about the same pace.
The do-it-yourselfer has to be pretty careful so that they do not actually harm their vehicle with the wrong type of fluid. That is why so many MS car owners rely on the advice of their service consultant to not only get the correct family of fluids, but to suggest the formulation that is best for their car and the way they drive.
Let’s start with engine oil. If you have been paying attention, you will have noticed a number of new oil weights on the scene in the last several years. Modern engines are built to much tighter tolerances and have very complicated valve trains. The oil must be thin enough to lubricate complicated parts when the engine is cold. The weight of an oil is expressed in terms like 20-W-50 or 5-W-30. Manufacturers recommend the weight of oil for each vehicle they make. The recommendation is based on engine design. Your Tupelo service center will know what weight your manufacturer recommends – and it’s important to follow those recommendations. A service adviser at Tupelo NAPA AutoCare Centers can also offer suggestions for special formulations and can explain conventional and synthetic oils.
Antifreeze, or engine coolant, is another area that has become more complicated. For a long time, manufacturers only called for a couple of different types of coolant. Now there are several different formulations that are needed because of the different materials that manufacturers are using to build the cooling system. Using the wrong type of coolant can actually void your warranty, so you want to get that right.
Transmission fluid is beginning to be specialized as well. New transmission designs have particular requirements that mandate the use of specific formulations. Recently, new, somewhat confusing, standards for brake fluid have also been released.
Not too long ago, there was a good chance that all of the vehicles at your house would use many of the same fluids. However, as automotive technology advances, the array of basic automotive fluids you need will grow. And, some of the formulations will cost a little more. Fortunately, your Tupelo service center will continue to update their training to keep pace with technology so that you’ll get the right fluids your car needs. It’s all part of the commitment your service center makes to your driving peace of mind.